Interserver Review – The Best Unlimited Hostgator Alternative

I know it’s been awhile since my last article on here, so I thought I’d try to get back into the groove with this Interserver Review.  Haven’t heard of Inteserver? Well this outfit is truly a gem in the crowded field of web hosting and a great Hostgator alternative, Bluehost alternative, or other Endurance International Group (EIG) alternative if you are looking for “unlimited” shared web hosting. Anyway let’s get started with this review shall we.

Adam’s Interserver Review

interserver review

Interserver has been in the web hosting business for quite a long time, even if they are not that well known. The company was started back in 1999 by two friends, Michael Lavrik and John Quaglieri.  Pretty interesting story as Lavrik and Quaglieri started this web hosting company when they were just 15 years old. They rented out server space and grew their customer base from there.  A few years later they decided to construct their own datacenter and they are still in business today. I don’t know about you but back when I was 15 I was more interested in looking at scantily glad girls then worrying about starting a web hosting business. (This might still be true today.)

I found Interserver when I was researching Litespeed web hosting companies. Litespeed is is a server operating system which supposedly helps manage system resources better than what the majority of web hosting companies use, Apache. Interserver is listed as a hosting partner on Litespeed’s website.  I noticed some good reviews of them, mainly for VPS (virtual private servers), on a few places and thought I’d give them a shot for one of my websites which is news and review based. We migrated to Interserver from Siteground, while a good web hosting company, sometimes just felt a little slow and overpriced for what you got.

What type of service does Interserver provide? Read on my friend.

Speed

Many webmasters, bloggers, etc. are concerned with site speed. People don’t like waiting around for sites to load and studies have shown people bounce if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to display in a browser. Siteground had some built-in caching tools you could utilize in the backend dashboard, but typically I found for my news site these never worked to speed things up as expected.  Sometimes Siteground caching conflicted with the caching plugin we already had installed.  Google also takes speed as a factor in SEO (search engine optimization) and SERP (search engine results pages) these days.

When we moved the site we had with to Interserver, I noticed our average load times dropped from 10 seconds to 2 seconds.  I used WebPageTest.org and Google’s Speed tool and both showed a noticably improvement. We didn’t touch or change anything else except move the site to Interserver. Server pings generally average less than 100ms, they usually are around 70ms. As a comparison I know with a few EIG hosts these days if you ping the server you can expect responses in the 500ms range.

There are certain times of the day I’ve noticed where speed fluctuates, but this is to be expected with shared web hosting. Bottom line slower sites means less visitors, and less revenue. With Interserver we’ve generally been happy with the speeds for this WordPress website.

Customer Support

How is Interserver customer support? Absolutely incredible! The customer support team is knowledgeable and always willing to help solve even complex problems. John Quaglieri, who is a co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO), often answers tickets and helps work through issues. I’ve been impressed with his dedication to support.

Most of the Interserver support team is outsourced with most of the technical people in India. Some people may have a problem with outsourcing support but I’ve found this hasn’t been an issue. All the support I’ve received from the Indian technical support team has been top notch.

I did call Interserver once and I thought I’d get a support person based in India. It was actually someone at their New Jersey datacetner facility, at least I assume.  The guy had a Northeast accent. So not everything is outsourced.

What about ticket response time? I’ve experienced responses that are immediate. Longest I’ve waited is probably over a hour and that was usually for an issue that needed to be looked into.  Generally you’ll wait a few minutes to 30 minutes. In my book that is a great response time for tickets for a web hosting company.

Interserver offers ticket, chat, and phone support.  A lot of companies only do ticket support these days.  If you need help or have questions you can reach them 24/7.

Pricing – Interserver Hosting Plans

Interserver only offers one shared hosting plan which offers Unlimited domains, bandwidth, databases, email accounts, etc. Pricing for month to month for the shared web hosting plan is $4.95 with options to pay in 6 months, yearly, 2 years upfront, or even 3 years upfront.  The longer you sign-up for the greater your discount is. I have two shared hosting plans with Interserver.

If you ever need to upgrade your hosting plan from shared web hosting Interserver offers a nice amount of options.  Specifically the VPS and dedicated hosting plans.

For Cloud VPS hosting the plans start at $6 for 25 gigabytes of space and 1,000 gigabytes of bandwidth transfer. That’s a pretty damn good deal. If you want extras like cPanel it is $10 per month, Softaculous $2, and extra IPs $1.  That means to get a managed VPS with cPanel you could get for $16 a month.  If you check around most managed Cloud VPS plans, with cPanel, are going to cost you $30 you or more a month.

If I was going to upgrade to VPS hosting, I would definitely go with an Interserver plan.  It is reasonable priced and easy to add more slices, ie capacity, as needed which is always a plus in my book. Extra Interserver VPS slices are an extra $6 per month which won’t break the bank if I needed to upgrade too. Also they just added a nice iPhone app for managing a Cloud VPS from your smartphone. I have an Android but I still think that’s a nice feature for Interserver VPS customers.

If you are interested in dedicated servers they have great pricing on those as well.  The dedicated servers plans start at $59 per month, which is another great deal if you check around for dedicated server prices.

Interserver also offers reseller hosting plans and colocation, which means that you own the server hardware and they just host it in their datacenter.  They also have Quick Servers plans which are slightly above their Cloud VPS web hosting options.  These plans are faster to deploy ,compared to their dedicated servers, since they utilize cloud virtualization but come with the power and capacity of a dedicated server.  Interserver Quick Servers start at $95 a month.  If I had high traffic sites, I would definitely consider one of these Quick Server plans.

Another nice thing is that the price you pay when you sign-up is locked for the life of the account. They have a “Price Lock Guarantee” which is nice. I’ve been with some web hosting companies that do not grandfather pricing.

Use coupon code – SAVEINTER – and only pay 1 cent your first month with Interserver

Final Thoughts on Interserver

How can Interserver offer such competitive and low pricing or shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated web hosting? It’s simple, they own and operate their own datacenter in Seacus, New Jersey.  What a lot of web hosting companies do is rent out servers from datacenters around the United States and other countries.  Since Intserver operates their own datacenter, and does not rent, they pass on the savings to customers.

The pricing for shared, VPS, and dedicated server plans is kind of unbeatable considering everything you get.  Support, speed, knowledge, and hardware are just all incredible. I’ve looked around and used many different hosting companies and Interserver is extremely competitive in the hosting marketplace.

Since the company has been in business awhile you know you are in good hands and I’ve been recommending Interserver for awhile now. I have not heard any complaints and really only hear good experiences from people I refer.  If you are looking for a HostGator alternative, BlueGost alternative, HostMonster alternative, JustHost alternative or pretty much any Endurance International Group web host company I think you should definitely switch to Interserver. Especially if you want to get an “unlimited” web hosting plan.

Site5 used to be be good EIG alternative host for unlimited shared web hosting.  However they were recently bought out. I have not heard complaints about the server and I still recommend Site5, you can read my Site5 Review too, but Interserver is the best alternative from what I’ve seen.

Do you have any questions, concerns or comments about Interserver? Do you like, or dislike, my Interserver Review?  Leave a comment below and let me know. I always enjoy hearing comments and questions from readers.

Editors’ Note – I have included affiliate links in this Interserver Review.  That means if you use the link, or coupon code SAVEINTER, I get a commission. If you have received benefit from this review I’d apprecaite if you use the affiliate links. It helps keep things running around here and makes me continue to write helpful web hosting reviews like this one.

HostGator Review – Terrible Web Hosting

hostgator reviewQuite often I get asked about HostGator as a web hosting company since a lot of people use and still recommend them.  What you are about to read is a an honest HostGator review about how they are a terrible web hosting company.

Adam’s HostGator Review

Let first start off by saying that I have used HostGator before the company’s founder, Brent Oxley, decided to sell his web hosting company to Endurance International Group (EIG).  Before the buyout they were a great web hosting company with pretty much unbeatable customer service, servers, and uptime.  However, since the EIG buyout things have gone downhill like all web hosting companies they acquire.

Server Speed

HostGator has moved a majority of customers using shared and VPS hosting from the Softlayer datacenter in Dallas, Texas to the the Bluehost datacenter facility in Provo, Utah.  HostGator Outages at the Provo datacenter have been often and really annoying for EIG customers which includes other web hosting brands like HostMonster, JustHost, and BlueHost.

Speed tests I’ve run using WebPageTest.org show that on average AdamYamada.com takes roughly 9-10 seconds to fully load the homepage while a second pass shows it usually takes 5-6 seconds.  Google PageSpeed Insights is not any better and my mobile speeds are pretty horrendous with HostGator.

Checking Google Webmaster Tools I can see that ever since the move to the Provo datacenter it takes Google much longer to crawl my websites too.  For anyone that does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you know that Google only allots a certain amount of crawling time each site.  So server response time is important and Google has said that speed is a factor in search rankings.

I did try to improve this my subscribing to MaxCDN but if you read my MaxCDN review you will see that didn’t help.

Uptime

I use UptimeRobot and StatueCake to monitor my websites in addition to clients websites.  HostGator tends to have constant downtime which is expected from

Sometimes when I manually tell the Googlebot to crawl this site I get “Temporarily Unavailable” errors even though the site is up.  This isn’t reassuring to tell me that HostGator isn’t overpacking servers and my websites probably look down in the eyes of Google which I assume isn’t helping my SEO rankings.  In my opinion downtime hurts search engine rankings.

Server Errors

Having overpacked servers leads to tons of server errors. I got these “internal server errors” on HostGator all the time now.

hostgator error 500 internal server error

HostGator Customer Support

Dealing with HostGator customer support now feels like I’m doing karaoke during amateur hour.  Response to tickets can take a full 24 hours and mostly they will not reply with any helpful advice that isn’t canned or regurgitated from something they said before.  Chat times before the EIG buyout were minimal but now they are usually 30+ minutes so what is the point?  Phone support is terrible so I wouldn’t even try calling.  Only call HostGator if you believe you idiot and they will treat you like one.

Final Thoughts about HostGator

I’m definitely not sticking around with HostGator and I’ve already begun the process of searching for a new web hosting company.  I’ve been looking at shared hosting plans mostly from LiteSpeed web hosts which do not promise “unlimited” storage and bandwidth and have better uptime, server speed, and customer support.  I’ve stopped recommending HostGator altogether and no longer do I send any affiliate traffic their way.  Another thing to be aware of is that HostGator parks domains of customers using their DNS.

If you still want unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth on a shared hosting plan, I would recommend you go with Site5.  You can read my Site5 Review to get an idea about Site5 as a web hosting company.

If you have any thoughts about my HostGator review, please leave them in the comments below.  I’d be interested to hear others experiences with HostGator and Endurance International Group web hosting companies.  Has it been good, bad, or really awful and terrible?

6 Free Email List Management Software Tools to Consider

If you are looking to start an email list or perhaps take over an existing email newsletter, I’m sure you’ve been surprised, frustrated, and confused by the high costs and confusing service some email newsletter management companies charge.  Is there another way?

There actually is.  Technically you can run your own email list management software on a shared hosting, or VPS (virtual private server), or dedicated server you or your company and organization already pay for.  (Assuming you have a website up.)  I’ve compiled this list of the free and open source email newsletter managers which can be downloaded and installed to run on a server and be used via a graphical interface in browser.

PHPList

phplistPHPList is probably the best known and most popular open source email management software that’s available today.  While it’s probably not going to win any awards from design snobs the email software works well.

PHPList has a lot of nice features like click tracking, bounce management, list segmentation, PDF documents, RSS integration, HTML templates, and more.  Most importantly PHPList has throttling and batch processing capabilities.  This means you can control how many  emails are sent out in say 1 hour, which is why most people use it in shared hosting environments.  This is also why the majority of major web hosting companies recommend PHPList, since they don’t want you going over their shared hosting email limits.

If you don’t feel like using your own server there is a phpList Hosted service where they handling sending out your email newsletters from their servers.  I have not used phpList hosted but the pricing looks competitive and might be an ideal option if your email list is large and you don’t want to switch to using another email program.

There is a new community manager for PHPList and Tincan, the company behind phpList, seems quite committed to continually improving it.  They recently updated their community portal and Anna, the phpList community manager, will be releasing tutorials videos this year along with better documentation.

As a side note, something I find personally pretty funny is the PHPList documentation list uses Mailman, see below.

Dada Mail

dada mailDada Mail is a great email list management software that is ideal for anyone.  The interface is clean and everything is pretty straightforward on how to use it.  I wrote about Dada Mail before on this blog and said it was much easier to use than MailMan or phpList in my opinion.  You should be able to install it and get going within a few minutes without having to read too much in the Dada Mail forum or documentation.  (Although it’s always a good idea to.)

Dada Mail comes with nice features which includes closed loop-opt-ins, email message archiving, sharing via RSS feeds, individual subscribers can edit their profiles, email analytics, and more.  There is a fairly active support forum and Justin, the developer, tries to answer questions readily.  So if you are having an issue you can get help easily.

The major disadvantage here is that Dada Mail is open source and free… but only if your email newsletter is under 1,000 subscribers.  After that you will need to buy a Dada Mail Pro License for $74.95, which is a one-time fee.

OpenEMM

openemmOpenEMM (open e-email marketing manager) is an open source email list management software I’ve not personally used.  However, from what I’ve read OpenEMM is stable and seems to to have a nice interface from these videos.  It has all the functionality of phpList and Dada Mail (from what I can tell).  It even supports many languages outside of English.

There’s great documentation for OpenEMM and in addition to an active support form.  On the website OpenEMM’s developers boast that major corporations use use the e-mail marketing manger such as IBM, Daimler, Siemens and Deutsche Telekom.  If it’s good enough for them it is probably good enough for you.

MailMan

mailmanMailman, or GNU Mailman, comes pre-installed in most cPanel installations to my understanding.  Mailman is used by a lot of colleges and institutions since it is quite stable and reliable email newsletter software.  It has several advantages over other email managers, specifically you can setup Mailman so that any user on an email list can respond or start threaded discussions.  Thinks of how Yahoo Groups works.

This is why a lot of documentation email lists for open source software use Mailman, like PHPList’s documentation list.  As far as I know this the group communication feature it Mailman’s best feature actually.

Even though Mailman is on this list I wouldn’t recommend using it if you are a “regular person” as it’s quite hard to use and has a high learning curve.  I couldn’t even figure out how to setup and send an email newsletter, and I consider myself fairly technically inclined.  It’s really for people that love coding and hate graphical interfaces I guess (ie hardcore Linux users).  Still I had to mention it on this post for email list management software options.

Pommo

pommo

I’ve put Pommo (Post Modern Mail Manager) on this list tentatively as I have not used it and the developers stopped supporting the email newsletter manager several year ago.  Thanks to the magic of Github Pommo has been able to live on.

People have clung to Pommo since it’s got a dead simple interface and is easy-to-use.  From what I’ve read it doesn’t have batch processing handling like Dada Mail, PHPList, or OpenEMM and lacks some other features.  Still people are using Pommo.

I did actually tried to install Pommo on a shared hosting server I use just for testing out things like this but there was an PHP issue I tried to install Pommo.  It won’t work with the current version of PHP installed on most shared servers and throws an error code.  There are some workarounds but honestly I haven’t had time to figure to figure it out and fix it.  Unsure if I really want to considering the other options above are supported.

If you have money, time, resources, and skills feel free to find developers to resurrect Pommo.  I’m sure a lot of people would be really happy.  Unfortunately I don’t but it would be nice to have Pommo as a usable option.

Sympa

sympaSympa, like Mailman, is a popular email list management software used at colleges and institutions.  I’ve read on some forums people have successfully installed this on shared servers and VPS hosting environments but most people seem to use Sympa on dedicated servers.

Sympa supports Galician, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, and German in addition to English and they are working on translating more languages.  Sympa features that other email newsletter managers don’t have is users can review each other, you can upload pictures, and more.

If you are going to use Sympa it does have a fair amount of documentation but it’s a bit hard to understand if you are not a computer geek.  For that reason it’s probably best if you stick with another email manager listed above especially.  It’s mainly used for college classes and sport groups as far as I can tell.

Email List Management Software Options

If you got to the end of this article you are probably wondering, “What email newsletter software should I go use?”  My recommendation would probably be to stick with PHPList or OpenEMM.  Dada Mail is also an ideal option even if you have to pay for a pro license.  I listed Mailman, Sympa, and Pommo merely as email list management software options you could consider just for kicks.  I just don’t really recommend people use them.  PHPList, OpenEMM, and Dadamail are all actively developed and have documentation that can be understood by normal human beings.

I hoped you liked this list and round-up.  If you have anything to add or have any comments please leave them below.  Do you like or hate any of these email list managers?  Have a suggestion of a newsletter manager I missed?  Let me know below.

HostGator Parks Domain Names to Make Money off Your Websites

I discovered something pretty sneaky about HostGator web hosting.  Hostgator parks domain names which are using their DNS (domain name system) if you are not using your domains.

What happened the other day was I was trying to create a subdomain for this blog and Singing Dogs to use on Tumblr.  I recently deleted my Facebook account since I want to focus on other social networks, like Tumblr.  The nice thing about Tumblr is that sharing is very quick, fluid, and part of the ecosystem and links are DoFollow.  (Unlike Facecrook run by Mark Fuckerberg.)  To get the maximum SEO (search engine optimization) benefit out of using a Tumblr blog it’s best to setup a subdomain.  Lots of startups nowadays host company blogs on subdomains on Tumblr for the SEO benefits and due to the fact content is much more likely to get shared readily.

As I was trying to add a CNAME record to create the subdomain at my domain name registrar, something must have went wrong.  I checked the main domain, AdamYamada.com, and saw this website was being parked.

adam yamada hanff“WTF? HostGator!” is all I could think to myself.  I then thought, “Well, maybe this is just a fluke or something.” Then I checked Singing Dogs and HostGator was parking that domain too!

singing dogs adam yamada hanff

For those that don’t know what domain parking is, it is essentially displaying ads on a domain name instead of putting up a blog, forum, or website with content.  The domain owner hopes visitors will click on displayed ads, earning them revenue.  Domain parking is a big industry and something that earns a lot of people good money, but a hosting company shouldn’t be doing this in my opinion.  If you are going to route DNS anywhere it should be to at least advertise your web hosting offerings.   Even if you have domain names you are not doing anything with I think domain parking sucks.

If you land on a subdomain that doesn’t exsist or you haven’t setup, HostGator will display a 404 error page advertising their hosting.  It’s just weird they do it on a main domain name since most other hosting companies would at least display an error page to let you know something went wrong, instead of trying to earn money. hostgator park domainsWhat’s fucked up about this is the fact that HostGator shouldn’t be making money off customer’s domains parking them.  When I got on the phone with HostGator support today I was going to tell the service representative off, but it wasn’t worth my time.

I am seriously inclined to move backed to Site5 after this domain parking incident.  I’ve also been having error issues which HostGator blamed on caching but I know that isn’t the issue.

Let’s not forget the major outage at the Provo, Utah datacenter which took out customer’s websites with BlueHost, JustHost, HostMonster, and HostGator.  All companies are owned by Endurance International Group (EIG) which is sort of infamous for buying hosting companies… and then ruining them.  HostGator is starting to become like the all other EIG web hosts, crap!

HostGator Down along with other EIG Hosts causes Web Hysteria

hostgator downHostGator Down! Noooo, my websites are not up!

This sentiment was shared on Friday as most of HostGator’s sites along with JustHost, BlueHost, and HostMonster‘s customers sites went offline for many hours and experienced intermittent downtime, slow loading websites, and generally poor site performance.

With a lot of frustration and no clear answers from HostGator I sent out this Tweet on Friday.  This got shared on YFS Magazine Facebook page, a magazine for young entrepreneur’s, and got a healthy number of ReTweets and favorites since others felt the same way.

You might want to check out some other Tweets regarding the outages as there a lot of other funny, rude, and crazy ones.  When people can’t access or work on their websites the niceties go out the window and web hysteria kicks in.

It should be noted that HostGator, JustHost, BlueHost, and HostMonster are all owned by the same company Endurance International Group (EIG).  EIG web hosts are notorious for overselling and packing servers with tons of websites leading to poor and slow site performance.

Until recently HostGator was considered one of the best web hosting companies to work with.  I actually moved from Site5 to HostGator since I have hosted with HostGator before and found they were a good web hosting company.

That was until they moved their datacenter from SoftLayer’s facilities in Dallas, Texas to the Provo, Utah facility about 3-4 weeks ago.  Every since the datacenter move happened the websites I have hosted with HostGator (including this blog currently, but that will likely change) ALL my sites have had issues loading slow and I have had quite a lot of downtime even before the EIG datacenter fiasco on Friday.  I’ve tried to work with HostGator support about these issues but they didn’t seem to care or think there was a problem.  They essentially were like, “Yeah, F$%# you we know the servers are overpacked.”

I assume the reason all the Provo, Utah datacenter has been having issues is that HostGator manages 1% of the world’s websites.   When you move that much data into an already packed datacenter, well you are going to have problems.  Probably not something that EIG executives want to hear about since they want to have an Initial Public Offering (IPO) soon.  Therefore you better cut costs and make the company look like a better investment.  Am I right?

Initially HostGator blamed the problem on a “network issue” and it was not clear whether it was a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack on the Provo datacenter or something that was caused by EIG.  Because of the wide anger and hysteria EIG setup a simple WordPress website called Endurance Response and posted this;

During the morning of August 2, 2013, Endurance International Group’s data center in Provo, UT experienced unexpected issues that impacted customers of Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster and JustHost. Company websites and some phone services were affected as well.

Many of our customers’ sites are back online. Some customers may continue to experience intermittent access and slowness until services are fully restored. Customer should not experience any loss of data.

The resources of our entire company are focused on the recovery, including our executive team, which is leading these efforts from our command center in Burlington, MA. The team will issue updates at enduranceresponse.com every 30  minutes until all customer services are restored. Following the restoration of services, Endurance will conduct a thorough review of this incident.

Ron LaSalvia, Chief Operating Officer, has expressed his message to customers, “We understand that your sites are your lifeblood, as well as the engine to our economy, and we have committed all company resources, nationwide to a swift resolution and full restoration.”

When I emailed HostGator they said again it was a network issue and then said it was DDOS.  Apparently EIG can’t keep their story straight as I did not see anywhere on Endurance Response that it said they had a DDOS.

What is annoying is that having lots of website down-time can affect search engine rankings.  (Of course this depends on how much traffic your blog gets and how often the Googlebot crawls your site.)

I want to make it clear to everyone that I understand when web hosting companies have downtime.  This it to be expected if you are using a shared hosting honestly.  It just is not possible since  you are sharing the server resources with other people.  However… HostGator still has yet to provide me with clear answers about the outages and bad performance before this major HostGator down-time, along with the other EIG web hosts, and make it clear what the exactly the problem was.

Endurance International Group now has taken HostGator from being a great host with great support to a host that people are fleeing from.  (According to Twitter and other social media channels at least.)  Even though I wrote about HostGator deals before on this blog and have recommended them, I have removed all affiliate links from this blog and all of my websites.  I can’t in good faith recommend HostGator anymore to my friends or followers and I hope you appreciate my honesty, even it will cost me a few affiliate commissions.   For your information, I won’t be giving any business to Endurance International Group hosting companies in the future either.

Personally I am probably going to be moving back to Site5 because of the HostGator down-time and lack of support.  Site5 provides good and knowledgeable support, but can be too technical at times, and don’t overpack servers.  You can read my Site5 Review to get a better idea about their web hosting services.

If you are a customer with HostGator, BlueHost, JustHost, or HostMonster I would recommend using a website monitoring service.  (You should for all of your websites no matter what the host is.)  I like Uptime Robot and it is completely free website monitoring service and allows up to 50 monitors.  Downtime alerts can be sent via email, text message, or RSS feed notifications.

If you are currently with an EIG host has the recent datacenter outage made you think about moving to another web hosting company?  Where are going to move and how do you determine a good host?  How does it make you feel when you can’t access or your website is down and there is no clear explanation?

Does site Downtime hurt Search Engine Rankings?

search engine rankings

Does site downtime hurt Search Engine rankings? ”

This is a question that is hotly debated by webmasters, search engine optimization specialists, bloggers, hosting companies, etc.  A lot of people say that a little bit of downtime, say 20 minutes, in a day, can hurt SERPS (search engine results page) for your website.  Others say that you can have a little bit of downtime here and there and it will not matter much.

Well this question was touched on in one of a Google Webmaster Help videos with Matt Cutts recently. Check it out and the question that was asked.

I got a “Googlebot can’t access your site” message in Webmaster Tools from my host being down for a day. Does it affect my rankings when this happens?
Sally

Matt Cutts initial response to this question was,

“Well if it is just for a 1 day you should be in pretty good shape. If your host is down for 2 weeks then there is a better indicator that the website is down and we don’t want to send users to a website that is actually down but we do try to compensate for websites that are transiently or sporadically down.  We make a few allowances and we try to comeback 24 hours later… So it is just a short period of downtime I wouldn’t really worry about that.”

While I mostly agree with what he said in the video, and after explaining that the Googlebot was having trouble crawling sites a few weeks ago, Matt Cutts commented, “If it is just 24 hours I really wouldn’t stress about that very much.”

Well… a friend of mine recently had his websites on a JustHost dedicated server and it went down for 1 day.  He told me hasn’t been able to get back his SERP rankings since the downtime.  Despite what was said you should realize downtime can hurt your search engine rankings in Google.  I’ve heard this from a number of experienced webmasters.

However, I want people to think about how the Googlebot spider works when indexing pages.  I will not go into everything as it would take too long to explain but just do a quick overview.

When you do a Google search you are not actually searching the web instantly, like a lot of people assume, but you are actually searching Google’s stored version of the web.  For instance when this article was first posted it DID NOT immediately get indexed by Google and was searchable. Why?  While this blog gets ok traffic my current pagerank is 3, which is decent but not too high.  Sites that post content more frequently and that have a higher pagerank are going to get crawled before mine.  Websites like FoxNews and NY Times will get crawled first since they have a higher pagerank, more content, and are in Google News.

So if my website was down for say 1 hour it is actually pretty possible that Google will not even see my website is down since the Googlebot may not crawl it.  While Google is really good about crawling new webpages very fast these days they can’t get to every new piece of content posted simultaneously.  If you were running FoxNews and had downtime 24 hours that would be a much bigger deal since they get millions of visitors a day and the Googlebot expects there to be content frequently.

So my answers to the question “Does site downtime hurt Search Engine rankings?” would generally be the same as Cutts.  I caution anyone asking this question to consider the type of website you are running, how much traffic you get, and your user’s expectations which will influence Google’s.  Choosing a reliable web hosting company is very important if you want good uptime and don’t want to have to worry about websites going down.  I prefer Site5 and you can read my Site5 review to get a better idea about their web hosting services.

So that is my professional opinion on this topic of site downtime and search engine rankings.  By the way if you want to monitor website downtime and uptime I highly recommend a service called Uptime Robot.  It will ping your website every 5 minutes to see if it is up and if it isn’t you can get a text message, email, or RSS feed notification.  Best part about Uptime Robot is that it is completely free website monitoring service.

Has website downtime ever hurt or affected your search engine rankings?  Have you ever had your website hosted with a hosting company that had frequent downtime?  Share your experiences below as I am sure a lot of people have something to say about this.